October Little Loves





I've blinked and all of a sudden the end of October is here. This month has been rather stressful with exciting ideas and plans which I'm hoping to share on here at a later date. Halloween is almost here, although its not something we really celebrate I am planning to do a few crafts with Blake and he has a skeleton top I'm popping him in to wear at preschool on the day. 

Anyway here are my little loves for October 


Read


Together by Julie Cohen
This is not a great love story. 
This is a story about great love 
I do enjoy a romance novel from time to time and this one was such a lovely read. I just had to find out what had gone on in both of Robbie and Emily's life for him to do what he did. The story starts in 2016 and goes back through the 1990's, 1975- 1977, then 1972 back until they first met in 1962. Did the secret in this book be what I expected? Definitely not I didn't see it coming at all!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I really enjoyrd this one although was dispointed with the ending. If you have read it was you? I feel there are too many unanswered questions so I do hope there will be a follow up.

Breathe Magazine issue 15
I finally got around to reading it and as usual there are some great articles and beautiful illustrations. Issue 16 is out and I plan to start reading that soon.


The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
I just loved this one so much. I'm really getting into reading fantasy books especially the fairytail variety. I've found out that there is going to be a second book out next year.

Currently Reading:
The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
I'm a fan of Ruth Ware and so far I'm really enjoying the Death of Mrs Westaway and I'm certainly intreeged in what's going to happen. Are you a fan of Ruth Ware? 



Watched

I was stuck with what to watch on Netflix this month as there is always so much choice available.  I came across the Shadow Hunters the mortal instruments and decided to give it a watch and was hooked I've managed to get through all 3 series.

I also watched The Haunting of Hill House after hearing about it quite a bit on social media and decided to see if it was worth the hype. Personally I didn't find it at all scary however I did enjoy it and there are some jumpy moments but nothing I found that would keep me up at night. 





Made

I finally got around to making Apple crumble which was delicious and I have forgot to photograph. Blake also did some baking at preschool and came home with lemon drizzle scones to pop in the oven.

Wore
The jumpers are officially out. It's been getting much colder and I've been snuggling up in a jumper most days. The boots are also starting to be worn more too. I've also got some new pjs that I'll be reviewing on here within the next week or so. They are beauty and the beast which is my favourite Disney film. 



And lastly...
We are going take Blake to see Bing Bunny live on Tuesday. 


Where Can You Learn More About Interior Design?


When it comes to styling our home, a lot of home owners wish they knew more about trends and styles. After all, the key is to make their property look the best with beautiful furniture and fabulous d├ęcor. But a lot of us don’t have much knowledge when it comes to interior design. In fact, we tend to go for wallpaper or paint which ends up looking like a design fail. And often everything in the room can end up not matching as our big idea didn’t work when it came to
reality. However, if you are a beginner, there are ways you can learn so you can transform your home. In fact, here is how you can learn more about interior design.



Researching brands and styles online
The first thing you should do when you want to enhance your knowledge of interior design is start to research to find out more about different brands and styles. After all, you will soon find the top trends and styles when you are looking at the latest furniture out there. Brands are constantly updating their stock so they are ahead of the game. Therefore, you will see the latest items which will look fabulous in your home. You will see repeat styles which you will find are popular with home owners. And you will also get ideas for your own home if you do look at the latest brands and styles. You should check out websites where they sell products such as furniture. For instance, you can look at the most stylish chairs on the market if you look at Sloane and Sons Tub Chairs and then you can find ways you can design your room around this key piece. Getting more information on what’s out there will expand your interior knowledge and give you ideas of how you can boost your own property.


Do a course on interior design
If you want to learn more about interior design, it might be worth looking at doing some kind of a course. After all, you will then have a wealth of knowledge on exactly what interior design is and the ways you can incorporate it into your own house. You will find that there will be tons of ideas and useful information on where you can get inspiration. There will also be guidance from experts who will explain it clearly and you will soon understand the basics of interior design. On completion of the course, you can successfully say you have basic training in interior design and can use this when improving your own and friend’s properties. You might not have time to fit a full course into your life, especially when you might be busy with work and family. But thankfully, there are quite a few online courses which won’t take up too much of your time and most of them are free too. So it won’t cost you a penny to boost your knowledge. Most of them will go through some easy exercises to help you learn more about interior design. On this site, you can find just a few courses you can do to boost your knowledge.



Look on interior design blogs
One of the best things about the rise of the web is that there is now a wealth of information at our finger tips. And with blogging becoming hugely popular, you will find that quite a few people are sharing their knowledge and experience of interior design. In fact, you are bound to find many bloggers who have renovated their property and are happy to share the secrets to how they made it look so perfect. Therefore, by just reading these blogs, you can find a lot more
about what interior design is and how you can implement it in your life. Unlike picking up a non-fiction book on interior design, bloggers do tend to make it a lot easier to understand. They use informal language to help a beginner understand exactly what they need to do. So you are less likely to make errors when trying to understand a book on the subject. You can also follow them on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. As this article from Industville explains, social
media has created an easy way for you to follow the latest styles and trends. And don’t be afraid  to ask bloggers questions if you do want to know more. They are bound to answer and help you on your interior design journey.

Laminate Flooring: Suitable for the whole family


Picking the right flooring for your home that suits not just you but your whole family can be a nightmare. If you have children you are going to want flooring that is child friendly. Our current home consists mainly of laminate  flooring with only the bedrooms being carpet. We have found for us that laminate definitely is the perfect flooring for us.

Before I get into why we've found that to be the case what is laminate? 
Laminate flooring is made up of multiple synthetic layers that are all fused together by lamination, hence the name. Laminate often simulates the look of wood, but there are wide ranges of designs available other than the traditional wooden vibe.

Laminate flooring works best for us because we often wonder how Blake can cause so much mess and destruction. If you have carpets and children you will most likely understand why we prefer laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is so much easier to clean up the mess children make from food, crafting, spills and other mess they make. If your kid is a budding artist or loves playing with the dreaded playdough or slime you won't be worrying how to get the stuff out of the carpet. 

 Laminate is incredibly durable and scratch resistant and easy to clean. With laminate flooring you are able to see dust and pet hairs more easily to Hoover up preventing allergies such as asthma. Carpet on the other hand embeds particles in the fibres of the material. Laminate won't be affected by cleaning chemicals either which is also another great reason to opt for it. 


Not only is it great as it's family friendly but as you can get different designs there are many options to find something you love. For us we love the traditional wooden laminate that our current rental property has as the light colour goes well with the rooms and our furniture.  In the future when we buy our own home we definitely would be opting to replace flooring with laminate if needed. 

Laminate is also a great option if you are wanting to replace flooring in your home and you're on a limited budget and not wanting to break the bank. Laminate is definitely a more affordable option which also offers great quality and is easy to lay yourself.  If in the unlikelyhood that there is damage you have the reassurance of only needing to replace a single plank without ripping your whole floor up. 

Taking back control- Rejoining Slimming World

I've given myself a good talking to recently and so I'm now taking action and I rejoined slimming world on Wednesday. I've been wanting to change but not sure how when it came to my bad eating habits. I've rejoined slimming world a few times since having Blake and its just gone to pot after a few weeks and I've given up. However there is something different about how I feel this time round, I've joined a different group which works better for me. On top of that a good mummy friend joined for the first time a few weeks ago and its spurred me on to go with her each Wednesday once our boys are at preschool. 

I feel that I put my head in the sand with how much weight I have been putting on and the scales terrified me. I've been telling myself that I'm too busy to loose weight and exercise. I'm not going to lie its hard work having a child with additional needs as well as running the household and my blog. Its time that I quit the excuses and just do it.

In all honesty I feel awful my energy levels are low, I'm not as fit as I use to be and get out of breath easily. I'm disgusted that I've let myself get like this and feel ashamed of my body.  I'm hoping by sharing updates here that you my readers will help me out in the sense of encouragement. I need to loose a lot of weight and have set myself a target of getting back to the weight I was prior to having Blake. I'm not expecting my body shape to be the same as I'm aware my body has changed since having Blake but i want to feel my energetic and confident self again.




Now I'm back on the slimming world plan for 5 days now I'm wanting to share with you what I'm doing to get great results:

- Making healthy swaps
Instead of grabbing a bag of crisps as a snack I've started to opt for fruit, Veg meat or eggs. I still like to enjoy crisps but am opting for low syn ones so I can enjoy a bit of what I like the same when it comes to chocolate and other things I love.

- measuring/weighing out my milk and cereal
I'm a bit lazy with this and have been opting mainly for wheetabix topped with fruit however when it comes to porridge/bran flakes I'll be weighing them. As for bread I don't eat it that often but know that a Warburton thin is the right amount to have.


-  low syn treats
I've found low syn treats that I can start having in the evening which is my danger time.

-  Trying new meals 
I get bored easily and so my books, magazines and using the website have been a big part of my week.

- write it down
I'm finding writing down what I eat a big help so far as I see what I'm eating and know where I can make changes to my diet.

- drink more water 
I'm bad at this and need to try harder

- move more
I'm aiming to start walking more and use the local bus less when out and about


So there you go this is me being honest and open and I plan to give updates from time to time.

Dig into your genetic ancestry with My Living DNA

Have you ever wondered about your genetic ancestry? I've seen tests advertised but never really gave it much thought until Living DNA got in touch. After reading a bit of info on how it all works I was definitely intrigued to give the test a go  and find out my ancestry journey. Living DNA presents your ancestry through 10 generations with an in-depth breakdown of countries and regions. Along with details of your motherline  (if you are female) or fatherline (if you are male).

Taking the test is simple - you just need to order a kit online for £99 plus postage. Once your test kit arrives you need to activate the kit online and then do a mouth swab. All the instructions on how to take the swab is in the leaflet included so it's important to give that a read beforehand. Once you have taken your swab you just need to pop it in the post in the free returns bag and wait 8-10 weeks for your results. When your results are ready you get an email to let you know and all you have to do is log into your online portal to view them.






My results:



Family Ancestry

This part of the test is looking at all your ancestors both in recent times (approx 10 generations)  and allowing you to look at your ancestry at different points in history.

When viewing my family ancestry you can see that I found out I'm 96.8% from Europe, 1.7% from Asia and 1.5% from the near east. I was able to look more into it by finding out regionally and sub regionally. You can see some of my results pictured below for sub regionally where I must admit I wasn't too surprised when it came up that south east England is the highest % at 19.3%.  What did surprise me was the % for France (1.3%), Scandinavia  (1%), central asia (1.7%), Chuvashia (1.5%), near east (1.5%) and Kurdish (1.5%). It was also great to see other regions of the UK and the % for them.







Motherline

This is where if you are female you can explore your maternal ancestry from your mother all the way back to Africa. The fatherline is the same thing but for males. 

The results from my haplogroup which is a collection of family lines you are connected to through your mtDNA.  Revealed that where my haplogroup is commonly found today on the coverage map. I found this very interesting and you can see my results below which revealed that Druze is highest at 16%. Living  DNA shows how my most ancient ancestors migration started near Africa and there is a handy map to show me. I found the whole thing interesting as it really shows how interconnected we all are.

Why choose living DNA?

1. They give you your DNA mix across 80 world regions, including 21 in Britain and Ireland. You can explore details of areas of the world your ancestors come from.

2. A 3 in one test that covers your family line and unlike other tests your motherline and fatherline if male.

3. They put your ancestry into context by showing your break down going back 10 generations and ancestors at different points of history.

4. As science and their systems evolve, your results will be updated to provide on going details about your ancestry.


Have you ever done an ancestry test? If not is it something you would consider getting done? There are many kits out there so its worth researching the best DNA kits. Please let me know in the comments below.



 * I was sent the living DNA test kit in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

8 Simple Eco Friendly Swaps

Since the beginning of the year I've been slowly implementing new ways to be more eco friendly and ditch the plastic. However there is still loads of ways we can improve on this area but i wanted to share with you some of the simple things I've done so far.



Making a few simple swaps such as going for reusable items or opting for products that don't have packaging doesn't have to be expensive and its not that hard to do either! 


Swap Plastic Straws for stainless steel or bamboo ones
Straws are such a waste and swapping from plastic ones to buying reusable ones are the way to go! We own stainless steel ones from amazon which come with a handy little brush to keep them clean. I do however need to get into a habit of remembering to take them with me when out and about.

Swap shampoo and conditioner for shampoo/conditioner bars
I picked up one's from lush and love the shampoo one I have and feel that conditioner isn't really needed. If you don't get on well with one brand try another as there are lots of eco friendly brands that sell them so definitely do your research.

Swap Plastic Bottles and Take away cups for reusable options
You can purchase BPA-free stainless steel bottles in all sorts of colours and sizes.
They are great at keeping your drinks cold or hot and saves you buying bottled water when out and about! As for your coffee or other hot beverage you can also buy a travel coffee cup. Some places offer a small discount if you use your own too,


Swap your make up remover pads for cloth ones
This is new one for me. I recently purchased a set of 10 cloth make up pads from a small Facebook shop and they are amazing! My make up removes well, with just using the one pad, all I have to do is then pop them in the wash.


Swap your spray deodorant for a deodorant bar
Like with the shampoo and condioner bars you can find eco friendly brands that sell deodorant bars.  

Swap your feminine products for reusable alternatives
Depending on what you feel comfortable with you can choose from using a cloth pad or moon cup. There are loads of different brands and sizes so again best to research what will work for you on this one! 

Swap washing powder /gel for an eco egg
Eco eggs contain powerful eco pellets that activate in the water and gently remove dirt and grime. You can buy the pellets seperatly when you run out to pop back into the egg. You can get different fragrenced ones and unscented too.

Swap plastic bags for a canvas one
We always reuse bags and make sure we have one on us most of the time as you never know when they will come in handy.


So there you go 8 simple swaps you can make that are eco friendly. Why not check out 10 easy eco swaps for families for more ideas.

Our Autumn Bucket List

After doing a summer bucket list, now that its October I thought it would be a good time to do a bucket list for autumn. After all I can't miss out on doing a bucket list for one of my favourite times of the year.



So here are some of the things we plan to get up to during October and November:

1. Scavenger hunt
Collect leaves, conkers, pinecones and other autumnal items

2. Paint or carve a pumpkin

3. Make Apple crumble together 

4. Autumn Trail
A couple places locally are doing something

5. Make firework cookies

6. Autumn/Halloween / bonfire crafts

7. Watch Halloween films 

8. Pop on wellies and jump in puddles

9. Watch fireworks

10. Dress Blake up for Halloween 

11.  Dig out the slow cooker

12. Drink loads of hot chocolate 

13. Donate to a food bank

14. Take loads of autumn photos 

15. Create a den in the living room

16. Take a moment for remembrance Sunday 

17. Go to an Oktoberfest event

18. Wear autumnal colours

19. Snuggle up and read 
Even better if the book is autumn/Halloween themed 

20. Decorate the home to give a cosy autumn feel.

Do you have an Autumn/Fall bucket list? If so I'd love you to share what you are looking forward to getting up to this season.